A good backup

I just read “Avoiding GPS traps” in The Southern Aviator.

Good direct-to-the-point article. I am an instrument rated pilot who has flown for 14 years in an A-36 which is still analog plus R-Nav (all King equipment), so I was trained this way for instruments. I have put off upgrading my panel because the revolution in technological advances is achieved almost daily. But I did put in a strike finder and use a Garmin 295 color portable GPS.

I never fly long trips without filing IFR and always, and I mean always, flight plan, mostly direct using R-Nav waypoints of 50 nautical miles. I use my charts religiously.

When I fly north from GRD (my home base, Greenwood, S.C.), I almost always lose satellite coverage and my GPS takes a nap when flying over one ridge of mountains just northwest of the AZG VOR. But the fact that I have done my R-Nav flight plan lets me continue to truck on. I can’t figure that one out since the mountains cannot possibly block a satellite flying overhead some 20,000 miles in geosynchronous orbit, but oh well.

I am going to wait before going with a glass cockpit. Heck, ATC is so efficient and, might I add, helpful. I feel my equipment is sufficient, plus the Garmin is — and this is important — a great backup rather than primary.

Bob Butler
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